Target: Urban School Food Alliance
Goal: Applaud a new effort to reduce the environmental footprint of school lunch programs
Six big-city public school systems across the country have teamed up to come up with innovative ways to improve the health of their students and the environment. The first item on their list: phasing in plates made of sugar cane that can biodegrade along with leftover food to provide valuable compost. In a pioneering alliance between the public school systems of Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Orlando, Florida, the members have banded together in order to make their initiatives cost-effective.
At fifteen cents, the compostable trays come in at a higher initial cost than four cent foam trays made from petroleum byproducts. Yet, this price hurdle is exactly what the Urban School Food Alliance seeks to overcome by combining forces. Jointly demanding healthier products for students and for the environment, the members are opening a bid to supply the compostable plates, aiming to convince suppliers of the true cost of environmentally unsustainable practices in increased petroleum waste.
Says Leslie Fowler, the director of nutrition support services for the Chicago school system, to the New York Times, “We want to set the tone for the marketplace, rather than having the marketplace tell us what’s available.”
By taking leadership in sustainability, the alliance also hopes to be an example to students. The idea is that being aware of their impact on the ecosystems and prioritizing their own nutrition from an early age will help students set the foundation for sustainable lifestyles in the future.
Please sign the petition below and applaud this vital move for urban public schools to create more environmentally sustainable and nutritious lunch programs.
Dear Urban Food Alliance,
I am writing to thank you for your efforts to bring greater environmental sustainability to urban public school systems. Your novel alliance strives to provide students with meal programs that support the health of the environment and our students. By targeting suppliers with your joint demand for more sustainable products, you provide us with a model which various institutions from universities to larger food industries to hospitals may emulate.
Your initiative to phase in compostable sugar cane plates in school meals represents the future of innovation in our everyday lives: finding ways to work with nature rather than against it, in a way that makes both economic and ecological sense. Your alliance does a great service not only to our students, but to our society at large, in demonstrating that through changing the market we can live sustainably.
Congratulations on your accomplishments so far, and best of luck with those initiatives to come.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Max Follmer via takepart.com